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AtomicDumpling
04-02-2007, 10:13 PM
Freel made a great semi-diving catch in center field today. That was the type of ball that Griffey could not have gotten to and it would have rolled to the wall for a double. I say semi-diving catch because he didn't dive until after he caught the ball, but at least he didn't slow down so that he could make a highlight-reel dive like so many players do these days. Jim Edmonds especially.

On the line drive to center that resulted in Freel's throwing error, I thought the main problem was that he misjudged the ball. He took a few stutter steps, then ran forward and dove but couldn't hang on. The ball was only hit about 12 feet in front of him. Then he rushed the throw and didn't hit the cutoff man. Harang cost himself a run by being to lazy to back up the play at third. Last year Freel rarely threw to the cutoff man. You can't get away with that as much in centerfield due to the longer distances. Hopefully another year of being an outfielder will allow him to learn to take better routes to the ball and to judge the ball sooner off the bat (Griffey's strengths). I think he will get to more balls early enough to have time to locate the wall and the other fielders before crashing into them.

Another problem he had last year was getting thrown out on the basepaths way too often. He got caught stealing 11 times, got picked-off at least 7 more times and frequently was thrown out trying to take an extra base. He did it again today, but he was the victim of a very fortuitous ricochet in the Cubs' favor on that play.

I hope Freel is learning to harness some of his reckless abandon into a more skillful aggressiveness.

Ltlabner
04-02-2007, 10:17 PM
I hope Freel is learning to harness some of his reckless abandon into a more skillful aggressiveness.

I did notice Freel play a hit on a short hop at one point in the game. It was a classic situation where a dive might possibly (if all was right in the universe) result in a catch, but more likely the ball would have bounced past him and created a mess.

You could almost see him hesitate at the dive-no dive decision making point. Maybe I was just imagining it, but it did *appear* that his natural instinct was to dive and he conciously forced himself to pull up.

So maybe someone has been talking to him about being more reasonable/rational instead of a crazy man.

BucksandReds
04-02-2007, 10:20 PM
I'll give the guy one thing, he plays balls to the walls every play of every game. If our entire team played that hard we'd win the series this year. That diving catch may have just prevented a big inning that the Cubs needed to regain some momentum in the game. If Harang keeps being that effective he'll win 20 or more. If Dunn keeps up as he has from spring training he'll hit 50 HRs and 120 RBIs. This is a team that is a couple more low 4 ERA pitchers away from a deep run in the playoffs. That may be a VERY difficult thing to find, however.

sonny
04-03-2007, 01:58 AM
Pete said in the booth that he wishes everybody played like Freel.
Freel takes infield practice and plays the game with the intensity of two men. Rose is his idol so, that must be a thrill.

RedEye
04-03-2007, 02:26 AM
Didn't you love how the coverage immediately cut to Griffey reaction after Freel's gaffe - as if to say visually "Junior is now thinking about how stupid it is that he's playing right field and Freel is missing balls in center." Of course, we all know that Griff would have just let that one fall as a single - like he did with almost every line drive in front of him last year.

Cyclone792
04-03-2007, 02:38 AM
On the line drive to center that resulted in Freel's throwing error, I thought the main problem was that he misjudged the ball. He took a few stutter steps, then ran forward and dove but couldn't hang on. The ball was only hit about 12 feet in front of him.

Freel's initial jumps and reads on fly balls are pretty lousy, and they've been way that since he's been playing in the outfield. He especially has trouble on balls hit directly at him rather than toward the gaps, and it was evident with today's specific play. His speed is by far his greatest asset in the outfield, and his speed can allow him to recoup some of that lost ground due to a bad jump. But on sharply hit balls, or other balls that just fall out of his reach, the bad jump is oftentimes what costs him.

Of course, if Griffey was in center field the ball would have dropped six feet in front of him instead of being caught anyway. It's a play that I'd love to have seen what would have happened with Denorfia out there if he was actually healthy and in center field, because I think he'd have had the best shot of those three to make that catch.

AtomicDumpling
04-03-2007, 02:49 AM
Freel's initial jumps and reads on fly balls are pretty lousy, and they've been way that since he's been playing in the outfield. He especially has trouble on balls hit directly at him rather than toward the gaps, and it was evident with today's specific play. His speed is by far his greatest asset in the outfield, and his speed can allow him to recoup some of that lost ground due to a bad jump. But on sharply hit balls, or other balls that just fall out of his reach, the bad jump is oftentimes what costs him.

I agree. He often gets a bad jump. He also has a habit of taking poor routes to the ball's landing spot, which is why he has so many collisions with the wall and other players. If he took the proper route he would get to the spot much earlier. He ends up having to circle around to the spot rather than running straight there with a small loop at the end (like Griffey or Kearns). This results in there being a flourish at the very end of the play, which is what the crowd notices. Generally if the player makes an acrobatic catch on a play it is because he was in poor position to make the catch after taking a poor route to the spot. The best players make it look easy rather than hard.

I am hoping Freel will improve his game in this regard. He is still relatively new to playing the outfield. I know he works hard.

You know who was the worst Reds outfielder in recent memory in terms of judging the ball off the bat? Take a guess....
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Wily Mo Pena was horrible. It seemed like he just stood there for a full second or more until the ball was almost on top of him before he took the first step. Deion Sanders was another guy that couldn't judge the ball. He was so fast that he could compensate somewhat, but he was still not a very good fielder.

bucksfan2
04-03-2007, 09:47 AM
Yesterday was a perfect example of what you are going to get from Freel. The catch was a good catch in the gap, not great. It seemed as if he slowed down to dive for the ball which isn't all that bad because I would rather have a guy do that then try to catch the ball below his knees. The error that led to the only run was because of Freel's inability or unwillingness to hit the cutoff man. He absolutly refuses to do that and he doesn't realize his arm isn't the caliber to overthrow the cutoff.

This year, if Dunn hits 2nd, Freel needs to be better on the bases. If hes on Dunn may see more fastballs to keep Freel honest. The time Freel got thrown out trying to go to second was more bad luck than anything. The ball bounced right back to Lee and it was an easy play. Freel has got to pay attention to his base coaches this year. I dont know if Hatcher was saying anything or not but Freel likes to run through signs trying to pressure the defense. He cant do that this year and Narron had to bench him when he doesn't obey the base coaches.

Dunner44
04-03-2007, 10:14 AM
The bounce that resulted in the play at second was unfortunate, but I'm sure the coaches were waving him to second. I had to watch WGN, because apparently South Bend is a suburb of Chicago - no ESPN 2 coverage for me :barf: So I got to see that play 10 times from different angles as the announcers creamed their pants in excitement.

Red Leader
04-03-2007, 10:20 AM
Harang cost himself a run by being to lazy to back up the play at third.

I know this thread is about Freel, but in Harang's defense, this was a bang-bang play. Ball hit to CF, Freel almost catches the line drive, ball pops out of his glove. Harang watching the whole time. When Harang sees the ball pop out of the glove he starts towards 3rd. Freel does a roll and picks the ball up and wings it toward 3rd. Harang is about 4 steps from 3rd by the time the ball gets to 3rd (or what Freel thought was 3rd).

I watched the play a couple times on DVR. There simply wasn't enough time for Harang to get over to 3B. I don't think its fair to call him lazy because of it.

Bobcat J
04-03-2007, 10:25 AM
When Freel was heading back to the dugout after being thrown out at Second, Hatcher gave him the sort of "It happens" looks and gesture. And, Hatcher could be seen explaining what happened to Freel. This was a jsut a case of bad luck.

He did get a Standing O from the folks behind the Reds' Dugout after the play.

Highlifeman21
04-03-2007, 11:00 AM
The bounce that resulted in the play at second was unfortunate, but I'm sure the coaches were waving him to second. I had to watch WGN, because apparently South Bend is a suburb of Chicago - no ESPN 2 coverage for me :barf: So I got to see that play 10 times from different angles as the announcers creamed their pants in excitement.

Mark Berry wasn't waving him. Freel made the turn on his own after taking a quick glance to see where the ball was in relation to D. Lee.

It was a bad bounce, I can't argue that, but Freel needs to play with more sense in his head with his entire game. He's a liability on the base paths with caught stealings, and pick offs, and in CF he is barely 1 notch above Griffey defensively. Freel looks lost in CF, and tries to use his speed to make up. That's not a gamble I want my CF to always take. Even if Freel doesn't dive at the ball and he lets it drop, he holds Murton to 2B and we have Murton on 2B and D. Lee on 1B rather than Murton scoring on the throwing error and D. Lee getting 3B.

TOBTTReds
04-03-2007, 11:11 AM
Freel was obviously a little jacked yesterday. I cannot blame him for going to 2nd on the bad throw because you aren't supposed to wait to see where the throw goes. What was he doing rounding 2nd on his double? That was quite overzealous.

I think things will be toned down though after the opener.